Abstract A numerical study is conducted of ethane–air coflow diffusion flames at pressures from 2 to 15atm. The model employed uses a detailed gas phase chemical kinetic mechanism that includes PAH formation and growth, and is coupled to a detailed sectional soot particle dynamics model. The model is able to accurately predict the trends observed experimentally with increasing pressure without any tuning of the model for different pressures. The model shows good agreement with the experimental data on both the flame wings and centerline regions. Peak wing and centerline soot volume fractions are found to scale with P2.49 and P2.02 respectively. This scaling compares well to that observed experimentally for methane–air and ethylene–air flames. As pressure is increased, the flame cross-sectional area decreases according to P−1.0 due to a constant mass flux and a thinning of the flame, which is consistent with experimental observations. Soot formation along the wings is seen to be surface growth dominated, while PAH condensation dominates centerline soot formation. Surface growth and PAH condensation increase with increasing pressure primarily due to both of these processes being a function of surface area. This causes increases in soot volume fraction to further accelerate surface growth and PAH condensation, acting in a positive feedback manner. This positive feedback mechanism is initiated by increases in reaction rates caused by increases in gas phase density. Additionally, the significance of surface growth decreases with increasing pressure, while the role of PAH condensation increases.